Virtual Service – November 28, 2021 – 8:30am

8:30 am

November 28, 2021

Virtual Service - Recorded November 21, 2021

Exciting news!

Our virtual services will now be going out on the same day as they are recorded. Today will be the last Sunday that you will receive an 8:30 am service. It will also be the first day that you get today’s 9:30 am service emailed to you at 2:00pm. Starting today, our weekly service will be emailed to you on Sundays at 2:00pm.


Welcome to virtual church!

For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos of service, the choirs and more!

Please contact office@waltonmemorial.com if you would like to be added to our email list.

Sunday Service Video

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – video and text. If you wish, you can download and print the service from this document – link – or you can read the complete service below.


Announcements

• Our White Gift Service is Sunday, December 5th,  2021. If you are able, we ask that you bring a new, unwrapped or white wrapped gift to church that morning, or deliver one  to the office during the week prior. If you are not able to deliver in person, please contact the church office to arrange pick up by a member of the outreach committee. Some suggestions for suitable gifts are listed on the website at Wesley.ca/holiday-assistance-program but are not limiting.  Remembering while you are shopping that each recipient will most likely only receive one gift will probably help with your generous gift selection. Note: Wesley requests no stuffed animals or toy guns, please. Wesley Urban Ministries in Hamilton, where many of our donations traditionally go to the “No-Cost Christmas Store” is preparing holiday hampers for their registered families, as there can be no shopping whilst Covid restrictions apply.  They will also be delivered to shut-ins.  Should you wish to give a monetary gift to Wesley through your givings account at Walton, we will send a joint cheque so that money can be spent where needed. We also donate on your behalf to the Kerr Street Mission in Oakville.  KSM has kept many families going through our pandemic/loss of income. Gift cards to grocery stores or superstores are most appreciated, allowing many families to have that special Christmas. Thank you so much in advance from your Outreach Committee, and from the many recipients.

• Christmas Benevolent Fund memorials- Everyone has the opportunity of making a special memorial gift to Walton at Christmastime, in memory of a loved one, friend or family member.
You are invited to make your memorial gift:

♥ By credit/debit card through the website by clicking here
♥ by texting a dollar amount followed by the word “Christmas” to 84321. Please also email your dedication message to stuart@waltonmemorial.com
♥ By cash/cheque through the church office — remember to attach your dedication message.

These memorial donations will be dedicated at a special time in the worship service on Sunday, December 19th, 2021. This list will also be emailed out after Christmas. In order for your donation to be included in the Christmas dedication, it must be received by Friday, December 17th, 2021.
All Christmas memorial donations will go to the Benevolent Fund, which is a confidential fund, managed by Rev. Gill with help from other staff, to help people in need due to illness, unemployment, or some unexpected accident, setback or tragedy.  Every year it helps people in the congregation in need through financial and material assistance, it also helps those in the community and occasional transients who stop by the church looking for assistance.
All donations to the Benevolent Fund receive a tax receipt.

• Walton’s 2022 Giving Envelopes are now available for pickup.  You are invited to drop by the church and ring the doorbell and we will bring your box out to you during the week. On Sunday mornings, you may notice your givings box is sitting in your assigned pew. Yes, if your name is on the top, those are for you.  

•  ThePrayer Box has returned to our worship services. You are invited to drop your prayer into the Prayer Box on your way into service, it is on the table as you enter the Sanctuary.  Each week the box filled with prayers will be brought forward with the offering plate and placed on the Communion table, and then will be passed onto the prayer chain. Of course, you can always call the church or email any prayer request you may have through the church office any day of the week as we did through our Covid closure.

•  Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. The Advent countdown to Christmas begins today!

•  Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayer requests can be sent to office@waltonmemorial.com

•  If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com.


Honouring the Land and Territory

Halton Region, as we know it today, is rich in the history and modern traditions of many First Nations and the Métis. From the lands of the Anishinabe to the Attawandaron, the Haudenosaunee, and the Métis, these lands surrounding the Great Lakes are steeped in Indigenous history. As we gather today on these treaty lands, we are in solidarity with Indigenous brothers and sisters to honour and respect the four directions, lands, waters, plants, animals and ancestors that walked before us, and all of the wonderful elements of creation that exist. We acknowledge and thank the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for being stewards of this traditional territory.


Welcome

Good morning and welcome to worship here at Walton. Whether you are worshipping with us today in the sanctuary, or virtually at home, we give thanks for your time and your presence here in worship as we celebrate the last day of the liturgical year and commemorate Reign of Christ Sunday.

Call to Worship

One:   In the pews or at home, remind us, God, that worship is more than showing up.

All:     Inspire us, God, that our hearts may recognize your presence, our Lord and comforter.

One:   Through prayers and readings, remind us, God, that worship is more than hearing words.

All:     Awaken us, God, that our hearts may receive your word for us, our Lord and teacher.

One:   Sitting at arm’s length, remind us, God, that worship is not something just to be observed.

All:    Engage us, God, that our hearts may proclaim our relationship with you, our Lord and Saviour.

Opening Prayer

One:   Eternal God, who is and who was and who is to come.

All:   Help us to offer you our lives as an act of worship.

One:   Inspire us through your deeds, God; our God who was.

All:    Remind us of all that you have done in our lives, and the lives of all the believers who went before us. Help us draw on your faithfulness, when we doubt or worry.

One:  Nurture us through your presence, God; our God who is.

All:    Strengthen us to affirm that you are with us always, and awaken us to the glory of your miracles and blessings in our lives. Help us draw on your peace, when the demands of the world bewilder and distract.

One:  Guide us through your promise, God; our God who is to come.

All:    Encourage us to live in the service of your kingdom here on earth, and to bring about a community of love and acceptance as we await your return. Help us draw on your grace, as we strive each day to follow your truth.

One:   All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who loves us and freed us from our sins. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Youth Story: “Back to School”

Jim: Hi Alison and Val, I noticed you aren’t here in the Sanctuary this morning.

Alison: No, Jim, this is the start-up Sunday of Sunday School.

Val:  This is great, we have been waiting so long to see the kids!!

Jim:  I bet you both are very excited.

Val & Alison look at each other and say…

Val:  Yes, it is just like eating a double chocolate, caramel ice cream cone.

Alison: No, Val, it is like Christmas, only better!

Jim: Wow, you two are excited! So what are you learning in Sunday School today?

Alison: Well this week we are finishing up our Ten Commandments series of lessons we’ve been studying this fall.

Val: You know back when I was in Sunday school, we had to memorize them all.

Alison: Yeah, but remember, Val, when Jesus came to Earth, he summed all those ten commandments into two, that are much easier to remember.

Val: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.

Jim: And love your neighbour as yourself.

Alison: Sorry to cut this short Jim, but we have to go do crafts with the kids.

Val: Wow, this is so amazing, such a blessing for our Walton family that we are worshipping in two places in the building this morning, and we are worshipping with our virtual families as well.

Jim:  God bless you all gathered in Bronte Hall. Let us pray.

Soloist:  “Nothing Left to Say”Rachel McIsaac

Prayer of Illumination

All: Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Collect for Proper 28, Book of Common Prayer, 1549 – written by Thomas Cranmer )

Scripture Readings: John 18: 33-37, Revelation 1:4-8

John 18:33-37

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”

Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Revelation 1:4-8

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,  and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds;  every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Morning Message: “God Talks”  Gill Le Fevre

Pick any hot-button issue of the last few years and I can guarantee you that you’ve got a perfect case study to demonstrate that facts don’t matter. Once you’ve decided to believe something, to hold a view one way or the other, almost any evidence that suggests the opposite will wash right over you.

It’s not a new phenomenon. Back in 1965 the economist J.K. Galbraith famously observed: “Faced with a choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof.”

Our subjective beliefs even distort something as objective as solving math problems. A study from Yale found that our numeracy skills are affected by our political views. So, when the study participants were given a problem to solve involving data about gun control, they answered with greater accuracy when the answer to the problem reinforced their views – be it showing that gun control increased or reduced crime.

It seems our belief systems are deeply ingrained into forming who we are and how we think and live. And so, if we want to be changed by something, we’ve got a lot of in-built hard wiring to be mindful of.

The author of the book of Revelation, John of Patmos, is wary of this problem. He is writing to a group of seven churches in modern-day Turkey and he wants them to change. He’s concerned that they’re backsliding in the face of the Roman empire, going along with “the idolatry, injustice and violence” that the empire represented.

But he knows there’s no point, maybe no need, to go in with information and teaching. Instead, John expresses, in a statement of poetry and awe, the transforming, all-encompassing nature of John’s experience of God.

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come.

Ironically, nearly two thousand years later, we are confronted with the same challenge. It is the reason the “Reign of Christ” liturgical celebration was introduced – to reflect upon who Jesus Christ is in our lives and, to encourage us to reconnect and renew our relationship with God.

Our readings today give us the opportunity to reflect on this and think about how we encounter God. When we come to worship, when we hear the Bible read to us, do we expect to receive information, or do we hope to experience transformation?

It is easy to let the Bible become routine; to hear the readings and teachings as information, and to respond to them at the top of our minds, where data typically lives. This gives us a general and abstract understanding of God, but it is God at a distance, held at arm’s length from our lives and maybe even our hearts.

The alternative is to open ourselves up to God and to “allow Jesus’ light to reach the bottom of our mind;”[1]  to connect with our emotions, unfiltered and raw; to let God reach deep inside us and touch our soul.

Our first reading from the Gospel of John shows both approaches at work. Pilate, on the one hand, is trying to engage in debate and facts, questioning Jesus based on law and logic – operating entirely from the top of his mind. But he encounters a dismissive and almost condescending Jesus, utterly unimpressed by Pilate’s questions.

Jesus isn’t interested in this approach. He’s not going to be drawn into Pilate’s cat and mouse game. Jesus doesn’t even once answer Pilate’s questions, such is his disregard for Pilate’s cerebral methods.

Jesus knows his kingdom reaches us at the bottom of our minds – that his ministry is above all about creating relationships for us with God, embodying forgiveness and love.

He doesn’t try to prove this with data or arguments, but simply asserts, “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Listen to Jesus. As Jesus tells us, if we want to follow the truth of God’s love, then we are to listen to Jesus. And not just then, but now and in the times to come. This is how we are to be the kingdom to which John of Patmos refers, serving God. We do this by listening to Jesus.

So where have you heard Jesus talking to you recently? What’s the last thing God said to you?

How about: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Because we’ve heard the word of God this morning. We might just have not thought of it in that exact way. Perhaps we’ve got used to thinking about the Bible as merely words and not The Word, the Word that is Christ.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

It took one of my Muslim classmates at school this term to jolt me back to this realization. He was highlighting what he called a “similarity-in-difference” between Islam and Christianity – that while Islam perceives the “word of God” to be “made book,” or in other words expressed through the Qur’an, for Christianity, the “word of God” was “made human.”

Muslims, he told me, perceive that God is speaking through the Qur’an as it is recited. God is speaking to them, and they are called to listen.

My classmate worried that I would find this perspective bizarre, but in fact, it is entirely consistent with our Christian faith. Perhaps, however, we have lost the awe and attentiveness that we need.

Instead, we are more likely to be suffering from what the theologian and Bible translator, Eugene Peterson, calls “the Holy Bible doze.” He recounts a Bible class where he was teaching Galatians to a group more absorbed by their coffee than the text. “Galatians!” he fumed, “Paul is so angry he’s swearing, and people are bored and mentally wandering away.”

Do we need to heed the warning provided later in Revelation, to the church in Laodicea: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

So, if we don’t want to be the equivalent of a tepid mouthful of coffee, what are we to do?

To start with, I think we need to reassess our relationship with scripture and reexamine how we engage with God’s words “made book.” Maybe we change the words we put around the scripture in our services.

There’s a church I know of that prefaces their bible readings with this statement: “Listen for God’s Word for you today.”

Listen for God’s Word for you today.

Each word is loaded, packed with transforming intent.

• Listen: we don’t just hear, we are to pay attention, actively and deliberately.
• For, Listen For: this is receptive and seeking
• God’s Word: the guidance we seek, the truth of our life.
• For you, God’s Word for you: is personal, direct, and intimate. Just for you.
• And, Today: this is immediate, relevant right now, as well as dynamic and evolving, keeping up with all that is to come.

Listen for God’s Word for you today.

And what might you hear? Well, what you won’t hear is God booming from a cloud. But a word, an idea, an impression. A sense deep inside that the Holy Spirit has something to say to you. We can listen for that.

For Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Theological Seminary, the Bible first socked him right between the eyes when he was about 18 years old, standing with his brother on a highway in a blizzard, trying to hitchhike to visit their mom for Christmas.

The boys had been waiting for two hours when a pair of headlights pulled over. A state trooper. They expected a lecture on how dangerous, not to mention illegal, hitchhiking was, but instead the trooper told them that the highway was closed. He had to attend to an accident up the road and then he’d come back and take them on.

The boys had nothing to do but wait and to pass the time, they reverted to their childhood practice of reciting memorized Bible verses. Every Monday while they were kids, their father had given them a verse to memorize by the end of the week. If they couldn’t recite the verse by heart, they had to leave the dinner table.

As Barnes recalls, “We spent much of that night asking each other to recite the verses of the Bible we had memorized but never truly heard. At one point I found myself saying the precious lines of Isaiah 43: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.”

By the time [Barnes] finished reciting those words, [he] was crying.”

That night – and that Bible passage – became a turning point in Barnes life.

Barnes explains: “I don’t keep taking chances in offering leadership because I expect to succeed; I take them because I know I can handle it if I fail. What’s the worst that can happen? Will I be alone, broke, and abandoned? Been there. Will I make humiliating mistakes? I tried hitchhiking on a closed interstate. And at the bottom, I found the relentless love of God who was with me and always will be, no matter how deep the waters.”

This experience is anything but lukewarm.

We don’t need to lose ourselves in a blizzard to hear God, but maybe we do need to lose the assumption that our bible readings are words and information. And reaffirm the expectation that God has a word for us here today.

The Presbyterian Church in the United States describes this as Spirit-inspired worship, requiring an awareness that we are “standing on holy ground, encountering God, and experiencing wonder. It challenges, teaches, transforms, convicts, and sends people out different.”

So how might you be sent out of here different?

Perhaps with a word or phrase from our readings. Maybe with a renewed expectation of the wonder of the Holy Spirit. And hopefully reawakened in the conviction that through worship we encounter God.

For God is here.

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come.

Let us join with John and proclaim the truth of God’s word. That God “lives in and among our world, in ways that fill history, that make God present, right now and in ways to come, that we cannot imagine.” [2]

God is here: in our text, in our world, and in our hearts.

God is here: in our homes and in our streets and in our lives.

Changing you and forming you and loving you.

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come.

Thanks be to God.

[1] Jean Khoury[2] Katherine A. Shaner, Commentary.Commentary on Revelation 1:4b-8 – Working Preacher from Luther Seminary

Pastoral Prayer

Almighty God, as we grapple with the challenges of life in this world, open our hearts to your truth for us, that we may be transformed by our faith.

As Covid continues to disrupt our lives, we pray for our leaders, and all those who face decisions that affect the life and work of others. Help them to lead with compassion and humility.

For each one of us, facing difficult choices about how we live and what is safe to do, guide us with sound information and surround us with the advice of those that care, that we may be sustained by your peace.

When those who would be kings of this earth oppress us with their claims of power and status, ground us in the truth of your love. Lead us to follow your teaching and prioritize your values, that we may be nourished by your words to us.

For those who are struggling with poverty and insecurity at this time of year, we pray that they find relief and support. Inspire us to give generously to charities and food banks, that we may serve you through loving others.

When things go wrong for us and we live with fear or shame, reassure us with your accepting love. Help us remember your forgiveness and be renewed by your relationship with us, that we may be comforted by your grace.

Strengthen us each day with your presence in our lives – our God who is and who was and who is to come.

Amen.

Anthem:  “Greater”

 

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

In Revelation, John tells us that God made us to be a vital kingdom, priests serving our God. And so we offer ourselves, as an act of worship, giving of our time, our talents and our financial resources. Each gift contributing to the kingdom of God on earth, and making a difference to those in need, locally and around the world.

We will now receive and bless our offering.

♥  by secure online payment from your debit or credit card. Click here to go to our donation page to make a single or recurring donation. Multiple funds can be included in one donation by using the “Add Donation” button

♥ by cheque through the mail slot at the Church office entrance or by Canada Post

♥ by Text to Give. Donate securely at any time just by texting a dollar amount to 84321 (eg. $5).  See our Text-to-Give page for more information.

♥ by monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offering Prayer

All:  Almighty God, we proclaim today that you made us to be a kingdom, priests serving you, our God and Father. We offer you our time, and promise to find ways in each day to share your love. We offer you our talents, and promise to make the most of who we are to show your love. We offer you our resources, as we are able, and promise to give cheerfully to embody your love. All this, we affirm, is possible only through the wonder of your abundant love for us. To you be glory and power, forever and ever. Amen.

Benediction

Go out into this new week inspired by the love and teaching of Jesus Christ. May you hear what the Spirit is saying in your life, may you listen to the love of Jesus given for you, and may you approach each day open to God. Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come. Amen.


In case you missed it…

Here is the mid-week update for Wednesday, November 24th